The Firefly BlogJuly 2022

July 2022: microchipping your pet!

Meet some of the members of the Firefly family through pet-tale story. Each month we'll feature one of our clients and their pets. Have a story you would like to share? Email us at Info@fireflyvet.com

Lost & Found

Thousands of pets go missing each year. Luckily, many of these lost pets make it home to their families because of a microchip.  Implanting a microchip is a safe and permanent way to help reunite you with your pet in these unforeseen situations.

Q: What is a microchip?
A microchip is a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice placed under an animal's skin using a sterile needle.     The microchip transmits a unique identification number when scanned. This number is linked to a database containing a pet parent's contact information. It also contains basic information about your pet, like their breed, color, and age. The microchip can only be detected and read by a universal scanner at a veterinary office or animal shelter.  Microchips have no GPS functions or capabilities to locate your pet if they are lost.  

Q: Will it hurt my pet?
The needle used to implant the microchip is slightly larger than those used for standard injections. Many pet parents elect to have their pet microchipped during a spay or neuter surgery.   There is minimal, short-term discomfort to your pet, allowing a veterinarian to implant the microchip while they are awake if needed.   Treating your pet to ice or a cookie can help distract them from and ease any pain they may feel.    In very rare cases, there have been reports of hair loss, swelling, or an infection. Your vet will discuss and treat any side effects that might occur. 

Q: What happens next?
Once your pet is microchipped, you must register your information in the company's database. Multiple microchip platforms are available, so you will need to check in with your veterinarian to see which brand they offer and how to register the microchip appropriately. You must keep your contact information up-to-date in the microchip database. A lot can change during the lifetime of your pet. Maybe you have moved, changed your phone number, or email. Making sure your contact information is updated is the important thing you can do. 

Q: Is the microchip perfect?
Honestly, no one measure of protection is perfect if your pet is lost. The microchip can migrate from its original placement, making it more challenging to detect swiftly with a scanner, meaning the pet needs to be scanned thoroughly throughout its body.   Some chips fail. Others are outdated and therefore cannot be detected with the universal scanner. Asking your veterinarian to scan your pet once a year is the best way to ensure the microchip it is still working properly.  

Q: What kind of pets should be microchipped?
We understand that some pets are indoor-only. If your pet ventures outdoors, even if they always come home, getting them microchipped is strongly recommended. 
#peaceofmind 

Q. Are there other options?
Of course, you choose what you feel is best to protect and care for your pet. It is important to note that microchips are NOT a substitute for proper external identification.  While having an ID tag on your pet's collar is essential, these can easily break off, or the information on the back of the tag can wear down over time. Check your pet's ID tag often to ensure it is securely attached, and the contact information is legible and up-to-date.    Pets can also be tattooed with an ID number. Over time, the tattoo can fade and be hard to read if it is covered by hair.  Speak to your vet about the best option based on you and your pet's lifestyle.

Q. My pet is already microchipped!
That is GREAT to hear! You can still do some things to maintain your pet's microchip:
- Make sure your microchip registration is up to date.  
- Ask your veterinarian to scan your pet for a microchip at least once a year. This will ensure that the microchip is still functional and can be detected.  
- Keep platform login information near and secure if you ever need to report your pet missing.   

If you are interested in getting your pet microchipped or need more information to make sure it is right for you and your pet, reach out to us via email or phone. We are more than happy to help answer all your questions.   

August 15th is "Check the chip day!" but you do not have to wait until then to scan your pet.   Schedule an appointment or at your next vet visit, ask for your pet to be scanned to ensure the chip is working.    

Hopefully, your pet will never get lost. If this happens, making sure your pet has a microchip in place will give you and your pet the best chance at a speedy and happy reunion.